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July 17 2024


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What's Past Book Six: Many Splendors

By Jacqueline Bundy
Posted at October 12, 2006 - 6:35 PM GMT

Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers, #66, What's Past Book Six: Many Splendors
Author: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Release Date: October 2006
Format: eBook
ISBN: 1-4165-3307-9

When the eBook series Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers was launched in the fall of 2001 as part of a promotion for the new Microsoft Reader program, I'd be willing to bet that no one had any idea that five years later the series would still be going strong and drawing an ever increasing readership. Many Splendors by Keith R.A. DeCandido is the 66th and final title of the Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers eBook series before the series is "reborn" in November as Star Trek: Corps of Engineers with a new eBook story designed to be a jumping-on point for new readers who might not yet have tried the series.

The series may be changing titles and dropping the numbering system but the most of the central characters will remain and the overall story will continue to move forward. As the series co-creator (with John Ordover) and its editor, no one knows these characters as well as DeCandido and Many Splendors is a wonderful way to bring this chapter of Starfleet Corps of Engineers to a close.

We first met Commander Sonya Gomez, the first officer and commander of the USS da Vinci's SCE team, in the TNG episode "Q Who" when she was a driven young ensign fresh from the Academy. In Many Splendors, DeCandido nimbly leads the reader on a trip down memory lane that traverses the second through fifth seasons of TNG when Gomez served aboard the Enterprise-D.

Beginning with her first day aboard the Enterprise, DeCandido has woven together events depicted in several TNG episodes with things established about Gomez's background in various SCE stories. Along the way we get to see Gomez evolve from the raw young ensign who spilt hot chocolate on Captain Picard into a confident and vital member of the Enterprise's engineering staff and we also get to follow along as Gomez's relationship with Kieran Duffy develops.

Although the bulk of the story told in Many Splendors is set aboard the Enterprise instead of the da Vinci, knowing more about Gomez's years aboard the flagship allows for an even greater understanding of the officer she is now. It is not as if Gomez's background hasn't been explored before in SCE - it has numerous times - but knowing even more about where she has been and what she has experienced in her life and Starfleet career just further enhances the readers appreciation for her character.

Electronic books were a bit of a gamble for publishers five years ago and there was a lot of uncertainty about whether or not people would want to read books on their computer screen or handheld device. Star Trek fans are usually among the first to embrace new technologies, which is why a Star Trek eBook series was thought to be a good fit for Pocket Books. For Star Trek fans who enjoy the fiction, that gamble has really paid off.

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Jacqueline Bundy reviews Star Trek books for the Trek Nation, writes monthly columns for the TrekWeb newsletter and the Star Trek Galactic News, and hosts the Yahoo Star Trek Books Group weekly chat.

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